Hunga Tonga volcano pressure wave

The 15 January 2022 eruption of the Hunga Tonga volcano had some interesting effects felt thousands of miles away

Early in the morning of 15 January 2022 (Phoenix time), the Hunga Tonga volcano erupted in the south Pacific Ocean. Tsunami warnings were issued for the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. As of the time of this writing (Sunday morning, 16 January 2022), there’s no word yet on damages to nearby Tonga.

Of considerable interest is that the eruption created a giant atmospheric pressure wave that traveled around the world. That pressure anomaly hit the weather station I have perched atop a building in midtown Phoenix, which you can see in the image. I believe the time of the +0.02 inHg anomaly matches up with when other sensors in the area saw that pressure wave.

Daryl Herzmann, who maintains the impeccable Iowa Environmental Mesonet (which I’ve written about before), tweeted out this graphic showing the pressure wave marching across the United States (EDIT, Sunday evening: a second graphic is below, and is objectively awesome):

The National Weather Service office in Phoenix noted the pressure anomaly as well. Their instruments, working in concert with other NWS offices, found two different pressure waves.

And finally, for a good overview of the entire event, Scott Manley offers this video: